How can I learn to balance work and family before I go crazy?

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Answered by: Amy, An Expert in the Balance Work and Family Category
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Do you lie awake at night thinking about all that you have to do and wonder how on earth you are going to be able to do it? You have deadlines, meetings, kid’s activities, grocery shopping, and more.

Whether you are telecommuting or have your own business, working from home can be just as stressful as working outside the home. The clock has a way of creeping up on your day, eating away valuable time, leaving you feeling stressed, tired, and just plain worn out. Well, take a deep breath, relax and put these trusted practices in place and you will never again wonder how you will balance work and family.

Get Organized!

Now you may be saying, “Ha! If I had time to get organized, I wouldn’t be reading this article.” But, what I mean by "get organized" is to take a few minutes and make a list of all your commitments. Anything you consider a “Have To” should go on the list. Next, prioritize by date, time and importance; whatever makes sense for your list.

Have a Family Round Table

Family meetings have been happening for ages and for good reason. When you talk as a family, everyone knows where the other one stands. Now, who you invite to your meeting will depend on the ages of the members of your family. But if they are old enough to understand what you are discussing, I suggest you include them.

At the start of your meeting, tell your family what your concerns are and ask them for their help. In most cases, your family will want to help. They may even be excited if you approach it in a positive manner.

Next, discuss the possibility of having your children take on some of the responsibility at home. Have them take turns vacuuming, dusting, or emptying the dishwasher. Most often, kids think it is fun to do these things anyway, so why not take advantage of that. You can also have an older sibling help a younger sibling with homework. It will give you a much needed break, and give your kids a chance to appreciate each other.

Another idea is to consider carpooling. Talk to the parents of some of your children’s friends. Odds are they are feeling overwhelmed by the pressures they have and would welcome the opportunity to share the driving duties with others. If each parent takes a turn at driving, everyone gets a break.

Lastly, you should establish boundaries with their spouse and children. Make your office or place that you consider your “work space” an off-limits zone (it is probably best not to make that space in the family room or any place that you normally go to when you are not working. That will help your family to be better able to determine when you are working and when you are not). Let your family know that when you are in your “work space” and that you need to focus on your work. Explain to them that when you can work without being interrupted, you can get your work done much faster and that will give you more quality time with them.

As I said before, every situation is different and there is really no cookie-cutter answer, but whether you try these exact ideas or modify them to fit your particular situation, remember, your goal is to balance work and family life, and there is no balance if you try to do it all alone. You will wear yourself out and you will miss the opportunity of letting someone else do something nice for you.

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